I don’t mean to sound too formal or stiff, but I really believe that…
This is a defining moment of our time. This is the moment upon which future generations will hold us accountable; will we do what it takes to achieve the 17 sustainable development goals?
Because if we don’t, there is a considerable risk that climate change will force us to change our way of life in very unpleasant ways. In a few generations large areas around the equator may be almost inhabitable for those not used to live and survive in dessert-like areas. A couple of degrees warmer in my home country Sweden may be welcome by some, but few of us are prepared for the extreme rains – or the lack of rains for that matter. We will have to get used to more extreme weather conditions. But climate is not the only challenge.
Today more than 700 million people are considered extremely poor (less than 1.90 USD/day), more than 800 million people are estimated to go hungry and more than 600 million youth lack basic literacy and mathematical skills. Almost 800 million people lack access to safe drinking water services. The number of people living in authoritarian countries is, again, on the increase; roughly every third human being lives in a country where democratic space is shrinking. And often different dimensions of poverty reinforce each other: a poor person often lack both resources, power, opportunity and live in an environment where s/he isn’t safe. That would be true for a victim of trafficking living on the streets of Stockholm, as well as a widowed, uneducated grandmother in the slums of Guatemala city. In other words: life is really hard on hundreds of millions of people today, who have little expectations of tomorrow except for more pain. Life is also going to be tough on hundreds of millions of people in 2030, many of whom are not even born yet, unless we choose to act on the 17 sustainable development goals.
If we choose to be part of the solution, and not part of the problem, this is also a time of opportunities. When countries and corporations, Swedes and Kenyans, Australians and Brazilians decide that they will work together to pursue the goals -then we stand a chance. Remember when the USA decided, almost 60 years ago, that they would put people on the moon – and they did. Then imagine what we could do if we start a movement. Have a look at Greta. Even if you don’t agree with her, just imagine if we all had some of her determination and we could agree to use the 2030 Agenda as our roadmap. A sense of we-ness.